This ‘super soap week’ Coronation Street will up its technology game by using a virtual production volume wall to bring dramatic scenes to life. The ITV soap enlisted the help of Manchester-based RecodeXR studio which was founded by Carbon Digital – one of our Creative Growth Finance investee companies.
In the explosive episode a tense rooftop stand-off is seen against a night-time Manchester backdrop. This backdrop is actually a virtual ‘volume wall’ built in the RecodeXR studio and is the kind of technology more commonly seen in major action productions like The Mandalorian.
Sue McHugh, co-founder of Carbon Digital said:
“It was so incredible to see the goalposts shift as the Corrie team began to work with all that this technology has to offer. It was an immediate recognition of the expanded creative possibilities the Virtual Production process enables.
The investment we received from Creative UK in 2021 made all the difference. Thanks to this injection of finance, we were able to launch the amazing capabilities of the Recode studio and to expand our offering. With Recode we can bring storylines to life that would previously have been impossible or at least restricted by budgets, weather and even laws of physics. ”
Tim Evans, Head of Investment at Creative UK added:
“It’s a real privilege to be part of RecodeXR’s story. When Carbon Digital first approached us about a loan that would enable them to build the studio we knew that it was a potential game-changer for the company. However, once you have actually been to the studio and seen its capabilities you realise that it’s a truly immersive experience that I imagine must also be fantastic for actors. It is brilliant to see this amazing technology working hard for the northwest region and I look forward to whatever is next for Recode.”
Paul McHugh, co-founder of RecodeXR explained:
“We were really honoured to be entrusted to deliver this ground-breaking storyline piece for ‘super-soap week.’ It was undoubtedly the biggest technical challenge we’d had, with some incredibly complex shots and the obvious sky-high expectation on production quality.”
The virtual production element of this seminal storyline could well be a trailblazing move by the Coronation Street team which has been driven by a desire to push the boundaries of the visual stories they tell in the long-running soap opera. Speaking about the use of the volume wall, Coronation Street’s Producer Iain MacLeod said: “You can do things that you could never normally do in a location shoot. You can put real actors in what appears to be a very real danger without using stunt performers, you can have the camera behave in a way that it can’t do in the real world unless it’s being operated by an avenger.”
While the technology can be seen as an extension of the creative toolkit which enables deeper, richer stories, there are also benefits for sustainability and shooting schedules. With the ability to shoot everything in one space and to control backgrounds, TV production can be far more sustainable. As well as reducing travel to location shoots, production teams can rely on consistent lighting and say goodbye to expensive and sometimes dangerous night shoots.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Carbon Digital and RecodeXR
RecodeXR is a full-service Virtual Production studio based in Manchester and co-founded by Carbon Digital. The team offer a turn-key content creation service from a state-of-the-art virtual production volume.
0161 394 0771
Carbon Digital is a multi award-winning visual effects agency based at MediaCityUK. Founded in 1998 their team offer expertise across games, broadcast, commercial and immersive work for clients worldwide.
0161 686 5740
Creative Growth Finance
We are the UK’s leading Creative Industries investor and a strategic investment partner for growth-minded creative businesses. Creative Growth Finance is a landmark fund providing vital scale up finance to the UK’s most promising creative businesses, partnering with Triodos Bank to offer loans of £100,000 to £1million.